‘Love in Lockdown’ is 9Honey’s new series exploring dating, relationships and romance during the age of self-isolation and the coronavirus pandemic.
From navigating digital first dates, to trying not to scream at your partner while in lockdown together, there’s plenty to discuss whether you’re single or committed.
For the final instalment of the series, we spoke with “perpetually single” Grace, who never anticipated missing human interaction so much.
Relationship status: Perpetually single
How has isolation impacted your love life?
Given my pretty non-existent love life, I don’t feel as though isolation has had that much of a significant impact on me. I will say though, that it has meant that I can no longer temporarily fall in love with random guys on public transport, and I’m missing having a little friendly flirt with my favourite baristas.
What’s one thing you didn’t expect to happen?
I didn’t expect isolation to have this much of an affect on my relationships with my friends, and I didn’t anticipate missing human interaction this much. As someone who doesn’t typically thrive in large crowds, has a bit of a pessimistic outlook, and has always been more of a homebody, I didn’t think I would ever find myself longing for small talk and basic human interaction.
Were there any dating/relationship issues you saw coming a mile away?
I expected there to be a lot of potential issues with my friends who were in the early stages of dating, and thought that isolation could have one of two potential effects on those situations. Either, not being able to spend time together would lead people to become disinterested and things would fall apart, or isolation would make everyone lonely and lead to deeper conversations and more meaningful connections. From the stories I’ve heard from friends, both of these outcomes have happened.
Are you more or less engaged with online dating now that you can’t meet up in real life?
I don’t feel as though isolation has really had much of an effect on my online dating habits. I’ve never been a big user of dating apps. I’ll occasionally open them to have a bit of a browse (or to judge some guys based purely on their crap profiles, to briefly get a bit of attention for an ego boost, or to message some silly stuff and have a laugh with friends), but I don’t take them seriously and have only ever met up with someone from an app once. I did take advantage of tinder making its passport feature free, and had a little squiz at some cute London boys, but that’s it.
Have you tried a Zoom/FaceTime date? How did it go?
I have not, but I am guilty of gazing longingly at people in Zoom meetings, and appreciate all the memes about watching crushes in your online classes (something I would definitely be doing if I were attracted to anyone in my uni cohort).
Do you think knowing you can’t meet someone for at least a few months has changed the way we approach dating apps?
I suspect for some people it would have, but that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve also found that the few guys I have had very basic conversations with on dating apps haven’t really been taking social distancing and self isolation that seriously. Many of them have still been asking to meet up after mere minutes of messaging, something which I wouldn’t have done pre-COVID-19, and certainly won’t do with the added risk of the pandemic. I had hoped that perhaps it would make guys more likely to engage in actual conversation before either suggesting meeting up or trying to take the conversation in a more sexual direction, but that hasn’t been the case in my experience.
Does not being able to date make you want it more, or have you lost interest?
It doesn’t make me want to date more or less, but it does make me long for exposure to new dudes to develop dumb crushes on. I’m a big fan of unrequited love and crushing from afar, and that’s something I miss. Silly warm crush feelings. There’s a kind of comfort in knowing that if things never get real then you can’t get your feelings hurt. Please, boys, if you see me in the pasta aisle at the supermarket, give me a smile. I’ll probably fall in love for an afternoon.
Do you think this will have a lasting impact on your relationship/the dating game?
While I wasn’t actively dating before lockdown, I can’t see myself rushing to go out and spend time with strangers (potentially putting myself in danger) any time in the near future. If anything the pandemic has made me want to date even less. It does concern me that if some of the behaviours adapted during COVID-19 – namely less congregating in public spaces including cafes and bars, or not attending work/uni in-person – stay in place for ages, I may never meet any new ever again.